None of this means that Tesla should abandon its goal of building the world’s best electric cars. By competing on service, style, and the dependability of its vehicles, it can sell a lot of cars while also letting rivals use its core technology. But to be a great tech company, it’s no longer enough to just make great products. You’ve also got to let others build stuff on top of your technology—you’ve got to build a platform. Elon Musk gets this, and that’s why his company isn’t emulating just one tech behemoth. Tesla is Apple on the outside, but it’s Google at its core.
I love the concept of using your would-be rivals to build infrastructure for you.
Speaking of Tesla, interesting to think that the cars almost will have to take off on the west coast of the U.S. at first thanks purely to the climate. The cold weather months of NYC could be an issue — at least for now.
Steven Johnson on the impending electric car revolution being led by Tesla:
And if that’s the case, then the automobile industry will go through exactly what the computer and software world went through with the rise of the PC, the Web, and the mobile revolutions. Smaller companies that bet heavily on the new paradigm will become dominant in an amazingly short amount of time; behemoths who cling to the old models will swiftly become afterthoughts. The EV revolution will be like Hemingway’s classic line about going broke: it will happen gradually, then all of a sudden.
Agreed. This is going to happen sooner than most people think.
[via Daring Fireball]